Over the last year, most people have heard of NFTs. These were and are not just a big marketing hype, but very concrete offshoots of the Web3 megahype.
An NFT is a “None-Fungible-Token” or in German a “nicht-austauschbarer-Token”. In technically simplified terms, it is a type of cryptographic address, consisting of a series of numbers and letters, which represents and unique on the blockchain. These NFTs are not interchangeable or replaceable and cannot be broken down into smaller parts (unlike Bitcoin, for example). However, users or their owners can trade with them.
It makes sense to think of NFTs as a digital real-time certificate, which – secured by the documentation in the blockchain – can be held practically and verifiably in one’s possession. You can think of the blockchain itself as a kind of land register. The land register documents who owns something, when it was transferred, and so on.
Endless use cases
The exciting thing about NFTs is the conceivable use cases. These are in the gaming sector, for art and collectibles, but also as an investment or even in the patent sector. But there are also much more “mundane” possibilities, because the great advantage of the NFT as a certificate on the blockchain is that it can be easily used as a proof by digital services and products to grant users access to something or to assign certain roles & rights. Ultimately, like the good old user login or account, the news subscription or even membership in a club or any form of organization.
The first start-ups and organizations are already building the necessary solutions. The keyword here is so-called “token gating”. That is, on the basis of NFTs that you hold in your cryptowallet, there are services that give me access to content or services. Just like a paywall (By the way, an exciting impulse article on this can be found here: Why it makes sense to imagine the NY Times in conjunction with an NFT token).
One service that offers this easily for your own WordPress sites, for example, is the Unlock Protocol.
User and Access Management
Whether it’s an employee app, a news app, or any kind of modern digital community, managing users*, access, roles, and permissions is a bit of a technical, content, and organizational challenge every time, especially since there are many different systems and platforms that provide or manage this differently. Therefore, the idea of identifying user access on the basis of an easily available digital certificate is also interesting for us.
The advantage is that by using blockchain-based NFTs, you can easily use certificates across different platforms, brands, services and services. There is no need for technical coordination and integration. Everyone simply accesses the user’s wallet. Ultimately, this only needs to connect the user’s own crypto wallet, although this is becoming increasingly easy for less tech-savvy people via wallets such as MetaMask (Ethereum) or Phantom (Solana).
Supplement instead of replacement
In the first step, it is easiest to think of the possibilities of so-called “token gating” as an add-on option. One or a user can create an account for registering in your app – just like before. He or she can also do this directly in the app or at tchop, a corresponding solution exists as standard. In the second step, you then only have to connect your own wallet with the profile. This gives us secure read access to it and allows us to check (directly or via third parties) whether a specific NFT is present or not.
This results in the following possibilities: the user gets access on the basis of a special NFTS
- to a new channel (and thus to other content)
- to private chat groups
- specific rights and roles that allow him/her to post or edit content
Of course, corresponding permissions can also be revoked immediately if the NFT has been sold, for example (if this is possible and wanted). Thus, the adjustment takes place as in a classic user management in appropriate frequency.
First use case
A first showcase with a concrete US customer is already in the starting blocks and is currently being tested with a small user group. This is a so-called DAO, a “Decentralized Autonomous Organization”. A community that has formed around a network of almost one thousand industry experts and is growing steadily.
The way NFTs and social tokens are used by such communities is manifold:
- The most loyal (often the first) members and “supporters” of the community are offered tokens at a special price or even as a gift as a “thank you”.
- investors can simply buy tokens and thus invest in the community
- Users can earn tokens by performing certain tasks or contributing useful things.
- NFTs can also function as a classic subscription, i.e. users pay a monthly amount and receive a corresponding certificate in return.
Tools like Agora Space make it easy to assign roles or access rights to specific NFT owners. On the tchop side, this can be easily mapped with the familiar logic of channels, roles and rights in our user management.
Megatrend Web3 as a supplement
Considering the different possibilities, it becomes clear that Web3 technology with wallets and NFTs is an additional option. No user has to connect a wallet, all functions are also available. But it is an exciting alternative to classic SSO systems, which, as I said, are often technically complex to implement.
If you want to know more about Web3 and are interested in taking a few first steps in this new web world, we recommend our blog post.
Otherwise, of course, as always: talk to us! We’ll discuss how and when this might be exciting for your app and application.